GRAND HAVEN — As craft beer continues to sweep the state — and the nation — microbreweries have a unique position when it comes to expanding production.
For Odd Side Ales, beer production in one week nearly matches its production during its first year in operation just more than three years later. But such growth is only possible with good measure, according to operations manager and assistant brewer Josh Gordon.
“Our owner Chris (Michner) is very business savvy and not easily persuaded by the craft beer boom,” Gordon said. “It’s been a slow and steady, calculated growth versus a massive explosion.”
The first year open — March 2010 — Odd Side produced 192 barrels on its small pub system on site of its taproom. This year, the company projects 5,000 to 6,000 barrels at its off-site brewing facility southeast of the brewery in Grand Haven Township, which opened in fall 2012.
“The plan is to keep expanding,” Gordon said. “We’ve outgrown our current production facility, which was huge when we first moved into it.”
According to Gordon, the company will decide in the near future whether to expand at its current production building or move to a new facility. In the meantime, Odd Side began leasing a warehouse across the street from the production facility four months ago, and is utilizing it for dry storage of its ever-expanding barrel-aged products.
“We have a lot more room for expanding our aging program,” Gordon said. “A lot of people are into the bourbon stuff or just aged-in-barrel in general.”
Gordon credits much of the ever-growing demand for Odd Side to its branding and bottle distribution, which now reaches the entire state.
“I attribute a lot of that to our aggressive bottling and bottling distribution versus kegs, which you’re fighting for tap handles,” he said. “Either way you’re going to fight for handles or you’re going to fight for shelf space. But it seems like a majority of the population will go into the store, see the brand, see the logo and they’re more likely to notice you.”
Around 85 percent of Odd Side Ale’s distribution is in bottles with the remaining 15 percent going to kegs.
“It seems to be working,” Gordon said. “Our distributor is having a hard time keeping anything in stock.”
But that’s not something Odd Side Ales can complain about.
“It’s a pain, but it’s an awesome thing when you can’t make enough beer,” Gordon said. “I feel like we’re making a ton of beer.”